Kobe Bryant’s Return Will Make Every NBA Fan Appreciate His Greatness

In one swift return, Kobe Bryant will reinvent the heart and elevate the spirit of the entire Los Angeles Lakers franchise.

It's been more than seven months since NBA fans last saw Kobe play. When we last saw him on the court, dressed to the nines in purple and gold, he was grimacing in pain. In a picture-perfect Kobe moment, he was also found leading the Lakers to a much-needed victory, outlasting a ruptured Achilles long enough to sink two pivotal free throws.

Seven months. And counting. That's a long time. Too long. In 17 years, he had never missed more than 17 regular-season games, and though he hasn't duplicated or surpassed that mark yet, his absence dates back to last April and has felt like forever.

Mercifully, it seems the wait is almost over. Bleacher Report's Kevin Ding brings word that Kobe has been fully cleared for all basketball-related activities:

It’s up to Kobe Bryant now.

Bryant has full medical clearance, I was told Sunday by someone in a position to have such knowledge—meaning he can do anything and everything without restriction as the recovery from his ruptured left Achilles tendon nears its conclusion.

His long-awaited return finally in sight, that naked feeling Kobe's inaction left us with can begin to dissolve until it dissipates into nothing.

"He looked real good," Jordan Hill said of seeing Kobe practice, via Lakers.com. "He was going real hard."

Black Mamba reloaded. Vino reborn. Kobe renewed. We're almost there, standing on the verge of seeing the same old Kobe incite new levels of appreciation in all of us.


Instant Identity

There's an emptiness in the Lakers rotation only Kobe can fill.

It goes beyond box scores and raw statistics, and trowels into Los Angeles' core. There, at the center of the team, is nothing. No one. No leader for the Lake...

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